When Dale Knight opened For Every Child in 1991, downtown Franklin had a much different aesthetic.
She’s been in the historic district for 22 years now and, like many of the other retail stalwarts, Knight has adapted her merchandise as the town garnered more and more visitors. But the purpose of the children’s clothing boutique on Fifth Avenue North has stayed consistent over the decades.
“Since we’ve opened, there’s been a change in what customers are looking for when buying baby and children’s clothes,” she said. “Like everyone, we adapt to that. But we’ve never stopped offering high-quality and wholesome children’s and pre-teen clothing. Consistency, that’s big for us.”
The apparel boutique uses every inch of its brightly painted, five-room space to display merchandise, which ranges from baby gifts and blankets to stuffed toys, books and confirmation dresses. For Every Child carries girls’ clothing sizes, preemie to size 16, and boys’ sizes preemie to size 7.
In addition to the trendy children’s clothing, Knight has also curated a large collection of both funky and conservative clothing for the “tween fashionista”—photographic evidence of which hangs throughout the store, compliments of Boulay’s Photography, who often captures For Every Child’s customers as models.
“We really carry a diverse collection, from a nice selection of cotillion dresses to swimwear and fashionable boys’ clothing,” Knight said.
Nearly 15 years ago, Knight pulled in Spring Hill resident Karen Tucker to help around the shop. Today Tucker serves as manager, overseeing the shop’s two other employees and ensuring that the daily operations run smoothly.
Tucker said it’s not necessarily what For Every Child is selling that makes the store so successful, though she emphasizes the caliber of her “upbeat merchandise” as well. It’s how they are selling it.
“In a town like this, where everyone is so friendly, you really have to personalize your service,” she said. “You have to touch every customer, because that’s the Franklin way and the For Every Child way. We’re interested in them too, which makes a difference.”
Tucker said that over time, she’s not only seen an influx of out-of-town visitors, but has also noticed a steady increase in the number of returning ones.
“We get a lot of people in here who take a vacation to Franklin, year after year,” she said. “Families will say, ‘I have to take you here!’ It’s a happy place, and they keep on coming back. Sometimes they’ll stop back in just to say hello.”
Tucker said that’s not the only variance she’s picked up on.
“These little kids these days are so funny. They are all individuals, there are all kinds of personalities,” she said. “They have a say in what they wear! But that’s what makes this place so fun. People like being around these little personalities, and it’s happy by nature.”
The Minnesota transplant said she attributes the high return of visitors, and the vibrancy that surrounds the store, to the locals.
“It’s just the friendliest place. I couldn’t get over it when I first moved here,” she said. “It’s a cool little walking town, and the individual stores and owners are all wonderful.”
For more information about the store, call (615) 790-6426 or visit them Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.